Why Mealtime Matters, TC Palm


Family Meals, Inc. – Why mealtime matters

By Sydney Liebman

Friday, February 15, 2013

If energy and enthusiasm were all it took to keep a non-profit afloat, Family Meals, Inc. would be setting sail for a smooth cruise around the world.

Founder Martha Taylor is a bundle of joyful dedication to bringing back family meal time, without watching television and without texting. She and her board, Myrna Boman, Debbie Reed and Jan Autin believe the fabric of family is woven by shared experiences and time spent together.

What is your picture of family dinner time? Is Mom in an apron, napkins folded on the table, children cleaned and waiting for Dad to come home from work? Or is everyone in the kitchen helping prepare the meal that will be enjoyed with fun and spirited conversation about the day’s events? Or is everyone in the family left to fend for themselves?

It is the idealized version of a family sitting, breaking bread, conversing, forgiving and repairing that embodies the mission of Family Meals, Inc. Volunteers know how busy lives have become, with most parents and care-givers working outside the home; maybe even each with two jobs. They also know children’s lives are busy with homework assignments and afterschool or church activities.

Studies have shown there is something about a shared meal that anchors a family even on nights when the food is fast and everyone would rather be someplace else. It doesn’t have to be a big “Sunday dinner,” but it does have to be regular and reliable.

In fact, it’s the experts in adolescent development who are most emphatic about the value of family meal time. It’s in the teenage years this daily investment pays its biggest dividends, as studies show the more often families eat together, the less likely children are to smoke, drink, do drugs, and the more likely they are to do well in school, eat their veggies, learn communication skills and learn proper etiquette.

Volunteers with Family Meals, Inc. want to help those in need by providing the ingredients and recipes/directions for meals so everyone in the family can play a role in the preparation, giving much more value to the meal, itself, and providing something to talk about.

Family Meals, Inc. is new to the spectrum of non-profits in St. Lucie County, but in the first effort, volunteers were able to provide the makings for 14 Thanksgiving meals. In the second effort, they provided 62 bags of meal ingredients, and the next project is to provide meal bags to families for Easter.

To that end, they are selling raffle tickets for a 30-inch chocolate rabbit hand-made and donated to Family Meals by Bruno’s Chocolates in Fort Pierce.

With a goal of being able to help others throughout the year, Martha Taylor says they are tackling their largest fundraising effort to date: “A Concert Tribute to the Music of Paul McCartney,” with special guest artist Scott Benge at 7 p.m. on April 12 at the Sunrise Theatre Black Box. Tickets are $30 per person in advance or $35 at the door and are available by calling (772) 461-4884.

To learn more about Family Meals, Inc. call Martha at (772) 370-0891.

Leave a Reply

501(c)3 Disclaimer

Family Meals is a not for profit, charitable organization formed under Section 501(c)3 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Donations to Family Meals are tax-deductible as charitable contributions for US federal income tax purposes. There are no donation limits or restrictions on contributions to Family Meals.